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David Openshaw rolls back the years to win the European Championship

[<<] [>>] by Stephen Mulliner at Jersey
26th September 2007 (International)

The 2007 event was the 15th holding and attracted an entry of 19 from 10 countries, including Roar Michalsen (Norway), Simon Carlsson (Sweden), John Swabey (Belgium) and Fernando de Ansorena and Jose Riva (Spain) plus some usual suspects and other new ones from England, Scotland, Wales, Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey. The Jersey lawns were up to their normal high standard with Nigel, the groundsman regretful of the heavy rain that had fallen recently which had taken away a bit of speed. However, Martin Hodge was an assiduous hoop-setter, and most of the players found the lawns quite challenging enough. The blocks were won by the top seeds (Mulliner, Patmore, Openshaw and Cliff Jones) with Strat Liddiard, Martin Stephenson, Martin Hodge and James Le Moignan as runners-up. Triples were completed by Openshaw, Patmore and Liddiard while Mulliner enjoyed by opening with consecutive 5th turn sextuples.

The knock-out stage involved 16 players and the first round produced an excellent +26 by the fast-improving Simon Carlsson against Martin Hodge. The best-of-three quarter-finals featured a slightly laboured win for Openshaw against Kevin Wells from the Isle of Man and a not unexpected close contest between Liddiard and Patmore. Liddiard should have recorded a 26tp in game 1 but mis-rushed to rover. However, Patmore missed the lift and was 0-1 down. He had to battle hard to emerge the eventual winner. The best match was between two players at opposite ends of the experience spectrum, namely Cliff Jones and 17-year old James Le Moignan. Having shared the first two games with a few errors on each side, the decider provided a high standard conclusion. James reached 4-back and peg before Cliff hit the lift and replied with two similar breaks ending with a peg-out of James' peg ball. This would have daunted many but the young man rose to the occasion, hit the lift and finished. His potential is considerable and his handicap has been reduced from 3 to 2 accordingly.

The semi-finals had something of the tortoise and the hare about them. They could not start until about 6.30pm but that gave Mulliner enough time to record a swift +24tp against Le Moignan and Openshaw enough time to complete a TPO against Patmore. With the light very poor by 7.30 p.m., the players agreed to peg down with 1 and peg against hoop 2 and box. The situation raised the interesting dilemma of what shots Patmore could practice during his knock-up the following day. Whatever the answer to that, come Sunday morning, Patmore gave himself a 5 yard hoop 2 and stuck. Openshaw hit, and despite giving one more chance a little later, took the game +12tpo. While this was happening, Mulliner had wrapped up his match with his third sextuple after Le Moignan had hit second turn and made hoop 1. Patmore could not get going against Openshaw in their game 2 and, to the manager's relief, DKO took the match before midday.

Given the time, a best-of-three final was agreed. Game 1 was not without interest. Mulliner went to 1-b in turn 5 (with Green) but Openshaw hit the 33 yarder centre-ball and went to 4-b with White, obsessing a little about peeling Mulliner's Brown through hoop 1. He achieved this after three attempts before 3-b and chose to leave B about 3 yards N of hoop 1. Mulliner lifted G, hit and went to 4-b with a NSL which left the hoop 4 ball rushable to hoop 2. The lift was missed but Mulliner contrived hand back the innings by missing a 4 yarder at Pink, the oppo backward ball. That should have been that but Openshaw had a rare accident at hoop 6. A slope caught W as he attempted to rush it to the side of the hoop and it stopped immediately in front instead. His attempt to peel W through 6 into position for the penult peel took some wire so it finished only just clear of the non-playing side. He now faced the unpleasant dilemma of how to play a hoop stroke without knocking partner miles away. In the end, a half-jump failed and his own ball rolled back onto his foot for good measure. Mulliner took a 6 yarder with B in preference to a 2 footer with G and looked set for a standard TP. However he fell victim to a slope at hoop 3 and failed to run by a millimetre. That was enough and Openshaw completed a double peel. Game 2 was a relatively swift 26tp from Mulliner, including a failed attempt to lay for the 1-b leave and Game 3 was even swifter. A Mulliner supershot was countered by DKO drifting at it from Corner 1, missing and leaving a double. Mulliner just missed but into baulk so Openshaw went to 4-b with an NSL. Mulliner again just missed the lift into corner 4 and Openshaw completed an accurate delayed TP to take the game, the match and the title. The "Euro pattern" remains in place (three Mulliner wins followed by two Mulliner losses, now repeated three times) - which should mean that no-one has any chance against Mulliner for the next three years!

The Plate was added to by the inclusion of 16-year old Jaime Riva and conveniently came down to four players on 4 wins or credits each, namely Carlsson, Hodge, Cliff Jones and Liddiard. The final was contested by Martin Hodge and Simon Carlsson and once again Simon triumphed. He played impressively throughout and was well worth a handicap reduction to 2.

Richard Sowerby presented the trophy to David Openshaw who thanked the club and the groundstaff. He observed that, despite the fact that he and Stephen Mulliner had both been playing in tournaments for over 30 years, this was the first time that they had ever met in a final - and that he was very pleased to have won! Someone was heard to mutter "Make the most of it" or words to that effect. Can't think who.

Blocks

Blue

Mulliner beat Archer +26sxp
Garrad beat Medway +1(T)
Mulliner beat Medway +26sxp
Stephenson beat Archer +13(T)
Mulliner beat Stephenson +17
Archer beat Garrad +1(T)
Stephenson beat Garrad +26
Archer beat Medway +8(T)
Mulliner beat Garrad +20
Stephenson beat Medway +23

Red

Patmore beat Michalson +23
Le Moignan J beat Riva +7(T)
Patmore beat Le Moignan J +26
Michalson beat Wells +2(T)
Patmore beat Wells +21
Riva beat Michalson +22
Patmore beat Riva +11tp
Wells beat Le Moignan J +1(T)
Wells beat Riva +15
Le Moignan J beat Michalson +16

Black

Openshaw beat de Ansorena +24tp
Hodge beat Jones +1
Openshaw beat Jones +22tp
Hodge beat de Ansorena + 16
Openshaw beat Hodge +15
Jones beat de Ansorena +14

Yellow

Jones beat Carlsson +9
Liddiard beat Swabey +26tp
Jones beat Liddiard +8(T)
Sowerby beat Swabey +11(T)
Jones beat Swabey +20
Carlsson beat Sowerby +17
Liddiard beat Sowerby +22
Carlsson beat Swabey +12
Jones beat Sowerby +18
Liddiard beat Carlsson +26tp

Knockout

Round 1

Mulliner beat Riva +25qp
Carlsson beat Hodge +26
Le Moignan J beat Archer +17
Jones C beat de Ansorena +26tp
Openshaw beat Sowerby +17
Wells beat Stephenson +10
Liddiard beat Jones K +15
Patmore beat Garrad +25tp

Quarter-finals (Bo3)

Mulliner beat Carlsson +25tp +25
Le Moignan J beat Jones C +4 +17 +5
Openshaw beat Wells +9 +22
Patmore beat Liddiard -26 +15 +15

Semi-finals

Mulliner beat Le Moignan J +24tp +25sxp
Openshaw beat Patmore +12tpo +23

Final

Openshaw beat Mulliner +14 -26tp +25tp

3rd/4th play-off

Patmore beat Le Moignan J +23tp

Plate

Swabey beat Michalsen +19
Hodge beat Riva Jaime +8(T)
Riva Jose beat Garrad +20
de Ansorena beat Medway +16(T)
Stephenson beat Jones K +23
Archer beat Sowerby +2
Riva Jose beat Riva Jaime +11
Medway beat Michalsen +4(T)
Swabey beat Garrad +1(T)
Carlsson beat Jones K +11(T)
Hodge beat Stephenson +9
Sowerby beat de Ansorena +21
Wells beat Riva Jaime +8(T)
Riva Jose beat Archer +11(T)
Jones K beat Michalsen +4(T)
Swabey beat Medway +7(T)
Liddiard beat Jones K +23
Riva Jose beat Swabey +18
de Ansorena beat Michalsen +25
Jones C beat Sowerby +9
Hodge beat Archer +13(T)
Carlsson beat Wells +17
Stephenson beat Riva Jaime +12(T)
Medway beat Garrad +5(T)
de Ansorena beat Jones K +4(T)
Wells beat Archer +19
Carlsson beat Liddiard +9
Hodge beat Jones C + 20
Stephenson beat Michalsen + 20
Garrad beat Sowerby +24
Carlsson beat Hodge +25
Wells beat Medway +14



 

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